About our UK Public Sector Strikes news
Latest news on public sector strikes in the United Kingdom, with all the latest developments on labour strikes that involve workers in the public sector, which includes government employees, such as teachers, police officers, and healthcare workers, as well as employees of state-owned enterprises and non-profit organisations that provide public services. These strikes are often organised by trade unions, which are organisations that represent the interests of workers and negotiate with employers on their behalf.
Public sector strikes in the UK have occurred throughout the country's history, often in response to changes in working conditions, pay, or benefits. In recent years, public sector strikes have been sparked by a variety of issues, including budget cuts, privatisation, and changes to pensions. Some of the most notable public sector strikes in the UK have included the 1979 winter of discontent, in which a series of strikes by public sector workers led to widespread disruption and a drop in public support for the government; the 2010 public sector strikes, which were called in response to proposed changes to pensions; and the 2019 teachers' strike, which was called in protest of changes to pay and conditions.
Public sector strikes can have significant impacts on the delivery of public services and on the lives of individuals, and they are often controversial. Some argue that strikes are an important means of defending workers' rights and protecting the quality of public services, while others argue that they disrupt essential services and harm the economy. The UK government has the authority to legislate on trade union activity, including the right to strike, and has implemented various laws over the years to regulate strikes in the public sector.
In 2022, there were a series of strikes in the United Kingdom over pay and working conditions in various industries, including rail, telecommunications, the postal service, legal profession, freight, and the transport sector. The strikes were supported by the Enough is Enough! campaign and were accompanied by rising inflation and calls for pay increases to keep pace with it. The strikes caused disruption and led to media concerns of a "summer of discontent," reminiscent of the 1978-79 Winter of Discontent. In addition, GPs, junior doctors, and nursing professionals announced plans to take industrial action.
In October 2022, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in the United Kingdom announced plans to hold a ballot for industrial action for the first time in its 106-year history, in response to planned below-inflation pay increases amid rising living costs. The Unison union also announced plans for a solidarity ballot for industrial action across publicly funded health services. Strike dates were announced for 15 and 20 December, with RCN members participating in strikes between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on those days. In addition, ambulance workers belonging to the GMB, Unison, and Unite unions announced two one-day strikes on 21 and 28 December, affecting non-life threatening calls. The strikes received support from a majority of voters, according to a poll, but the government refused to negotiate on pay increases. The strikes prompted concerns about emergency services and caused the rescheduling of sports matches.
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